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Obama walks out of debt-limit talks, tells Cantor ‘don’t call my bluff’

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President Barack Obama stormed out of tense debt-limit talks Wednesday with his top Republican foes after declaring he was ready to stake his reelection on the outcome, a Republican aide said.

Obama needs the Republican-led House of Representatives and Democratic-held Senate to sign off on a deal to close the yawning US deficit while allowing cash-strapped Washington to borrow past an August 2 deadline.

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The president, who has pressed for a comprehensive deal to last through his 2012 reelection campaign, was sending Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to brief Senate Democrats Thursday on the state of the negotiations.

Obama has called for cuts to social safety net programs dear to Democrats while pushing for tax hikes on the rich, a step rejected by Republicans who charge doing so will smother investment and crush already weak job growth.

After Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor proposed to raise the debt ceiling in more than one catch-all vote, Obama got “heated” and insisted on one comprehensive deal, said the aide, who requested anonymity.

Obama said he would not be “afraid to veto” a short-term approach or “defend it to the American people” and warned that a debt default would amount to “a tax increase on every American,” said the aide.

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“Cantor rudely interrupted the president three times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while the president was wrapping the meeting,” a Democratic aide told Politico. “This is just more juvenile behavior from him and Boehner needs to rein him in, and let the grown-ups get to work.”

Obama said “I have reached the point where I say enough,” and added “I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this,” according to the Republican aide.

After leaving the debt talks, Obama said “this confirms the totality of what the American people already believe” about Washington politicians who are “too focused on positioning and political posturing,” according to a Democratic official.

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“He got very agitated seemingly and said he had sat here long enough and that no other president, Ronald Reagan wouldn’t sit here like this,” Cantor told reporters after the talks collapsed. “And he said to me, ‘Eric, don’t call my bluff.’ He said, ‘I’m going to the American people with this.'”

The president’s message was “enough posturing, he said ‘enough is enough.’ He did not abruptly walk out. He was done with the meeting, everyone was done with the meeting, and he left,” said a Democratic aide.

An aide to Republican House Speaker John Boehner later signaled that the lawmaker was prepared to accept a short-term deal in which spending cuts outweigh the debt limit increase and tax hikes are off the table.

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The shift to a stopgap could clear the way for a plan crafted by Republican Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, whose proposal would effectively see the debt limit rise only with Democratic votes and without guaranteeing spending cuts.

Leading Democrats and the White House greeted McConnell’s proposal carefully, but it was unclear whether the plan would rally enough Republican support to pass the divided US Congress.

McConnell warned Republicans on The Laura Ingraham Show Wednesday that allowing the U.S. to default would destroy the GOP “brand.” He said it would allow Obama to blame Republicans for the bad economy

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“That is very bad positioning going into an election,” he continued. “But my first choice was to do something important for the country. My second obligation is to my party and to my conference, to prevent them from being sucked in to a horrible position politically that would allow the President to probably get re-elected because we didn’t handle this difficult situation correctly.”

“I refuse to help Barack Obama get reelected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy,” McConnell said.

With AFP. Updated July 13, 2011 at 10:41pm EST.


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Pennsylvania Republican senator arrested and charged with possession of child pornography

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According to a release from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Republican state Sen. Michael Folmer has been arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

The release said that the investigation began as the result of a CyberTip about Tumblr discovering that a user had uploaded child pornography onto their site. It ultimately led to the home of Folmer in Lebanon, PA. A search warrant yielded images on Folmer's phone.

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Netanyahu refuses to concede after he falls short — blames media instead

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Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, refused to concede after being down in the election night polls. Like the last election, Netanyahu is claiming his own personal victory and blaming the media for all of his woes.

Senior Diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid, at Channel 13 News in Tel-Aviv, was live-tweeting the election results late Tuesday night.

https://twitter.com/barakravid/status/1174116674225758209?s=21

"Netanyahu says Israel needs a Zionist government that is committed for Israel as a Jewish state. No government can be based on support from Arab parties," Ravid said.

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Mitch McConnell crony running for Kentucky AG is ineligible for office: lawsuit

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On Tuesday, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that a new lawsuit seeks to remove Daniel Cameron from the ballot as the Kentucky GOP's nominee for state attorney general.

According to the lawsuit, filed by retired union worker and "concerned citizen" Joseph Leon Jackson Sr. in Jefferson Circuit Court, Cameron does not meet the office requirement of having practiced law for eight years — because although he was admitted by the Kentucky Bar Association in 2011, he spent two of the following years clerking for U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove.

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